First question. Again the monk appeared on his rung as before, saying: ”O Judge, I ask you: Why do you permit gods to be placed in temples and receive honor as yourself, even though your kingdom is nobler beyond all else?”
Second question. ”Why do you not let people see your glory in this life, so that they may desire it more fervently?”
Third question. ”Since your saints and angels are nobler and holier above all other creatures, why are they not seen by people in this life?”
Fourth question. ”Since the punishments of hell are horrible beyond compare, why do you not let people see them in this life so that they may flee from them?”
Fifth question. ”Since the devils are ugly and misshapen beyond compare, why are they not visible to humans, for then nobody would follow them or give them their consent?”
Answer to the first question. The Judge answered: ”My friend, I am God, the creator of all, who does no more injustice to the wicked than to the good, because I am justice itself. It is in accord with my justice that entry into heaven must be gained through steadfast faith, rational hope, and fervent love. A person ponders more frequently and adores more lovingly that which the heart loves more and loves with greater fervor. So it is with the gods that are placed in temples - though they are not gods nor creators, since there is but one sole creator, I myself, God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But the owners of temples and people in general love the gods more than they love me, seeking to achieve worldly success rather than to live with me.
If I were to destroy the things that people love more than me, and make the people adore me against their will, then I would certainly do them an injustice by taking away their free will and desire from them. Since they have no faith in me, and there is in their hearts something more delightful than me, I reasonably permit them to produce externally what they love and long for in their minds. Because they love creation more than me, the Creator, whom they can know by probable signs and deeds, if only they would make use of their reason, and because they are blind, accursed is their creation and accursed are their idols. They themselves shall stand in shame and be sentenced for their folly, because they refuse to understand how sweet I am, their God, who created and redeemed humankind out of fervent love.”
Answer to the second question. ”As to why my glory is not seen, I answer: My glory is ineffable and cannot be compared to anything in sweetness and goodness. If my glory were to be seen as it is, the corruptible human body would grow weak and fail as did the senses of those who saw my glory on the mount. Besides, because of the soul's joy, the body would leave off working and be incapable of physical activity. Since there is no entry into heaven without the labor of love, and in order that faith might have its reward and the body be able to work, my glory is therefore hidden for a time, so that through desire and faith it may be seen more fully with greater happiness forever.”
Answer to the third question. ”As to why the saints are not seen as they are, I answer: If my saints were openly visible and seen to speak, then honor would be given to them as to myself, and faith would have not merit. Besides, weak flesh would not be capable of seeing them, and it does not accord with my justice that such great weakness should behold so splendid a sight. Consequently, my saints are neither heard nor seen as they are, in order that I should receive all the honor and so that people may know that no one is to be loved more than me. If my saints do at times appear, however, it is not in that form of glory in which they truly live, but rather in that form in which they can be seen without any confusion of the physical intelligence, with their full power remaining hidden.”
Answer to the fourth question. ”As to why the punishments of hell are not seen, I answer: If the punishments of hell were visibly to be seen such as they are, people would be completely frozen with fear and would seek heaven out of fear rather than love. Since nobody should desire the joy of heaven out of fear of punishment but out of divine love, the punishments therefore remain hidden for now. Of course, just as good and holy people may not experience exactly that kind of indescribable joy prior to the separation of body and soul, nor can the wicked experience their punishments. But once the soul is separated from the body, then they discover those experiences they were unwilling to probe with their intelligence while they were still able.”
Answer to the fifth question. ”As to why devils make no visible appearance, I answer: If their horrible ugliness were seen such as it is, the soul of the person seeing it would lose her wits at the very sight, and her whole body would quake and quail like someone trembling with fear, and her whole heart would fail and die of fright, and her feet would not be able to sustain the weight of her limbs. In order that the soul should remain steady in her senses and her heart watchful in my love and her body capable of laboring in my service, the ugliness of devils is therefore hidden - also in order to check their evil purposes.”
The third revelation in which Christ speaks to his bride, blessed Bridget, and teaches her through a parable about a true doctor who is a healer and a false doctor who is a killer, and about a man who only has an opinion. He tells her that a man who takes in sinners and gives them help or an opportunity for sinning, should they die in their sin, then God will exact the death of their souls at his hand. However, if he takes them in and they cease from sinning and are instructed by him in the virtues and improved by his teaching, both they and he will receive a great reward from God.
The Son of God speaks: ”If there is a sick man in the house and an experienced doctor visits him, the doctor soon determines the nature of the sickness from the external symptoms. However, if he recognizes the patient's sickness but gives him medicine that results in death, then he is denounced as a murderer and not a true doctor. A person who knows how to cure but practices medicine for the sake of worldly remuneration will get no wages from me. But if he practices medicine for love of me and for my honor, then I am bound to give him his wages. If a person is not an expert in medicine but is confident that, in his opinion, this or that would be good for the patient, and gives him it with a kindly intention, he should not be denounced as a murderer if the patient dies, but only as a foolish and presumptuous man. If the patient improves from the fool's medicine, then he should not get the wages of an expert but only of an opiner, since he gave the medicine according to his opinion, rather than knowledge.
Now I will tell you what these things mean. Those people you know are spiritually sick and inclined to pride and cupidity by following their own will. Therefore, if their friend, whom I compare to a doctor, gives them help and advice by which they grow in pride and ambition and die spiritually, I shall surely exact their death at his hand. Although they die from their own iniquity, yet he is the agent and cause of their death, and he will most assuredly not be immune from punishment. If, led by a natural love, he supports them and helps them to advance in the world for the sake of his own convenience and worldly honor, let him not expect any wages from me!
On the other hand, if he considers their situation like a good doctor and says to himself: 'These people are sick and need medicine. Therefore, although my medicine seems bitter to them, yet it is healthy and I will still give it to them so that they will not die a harsher death. Accordingly, while restraining them, I shall also give them food, so that they do not faint from hunger; I shall give them clothing, so that they can make a suitable appearance according to their state; I shall hold them to my treatment, so that they do not grow haughty; I shall also provide for their other needs, so that they do not become proud and perish in their presumption or have occasion to do harm to others.' Such a doctor as this will receive a great reward from me, for this kind of corrective treatment pleases me.
But if their friend thinks to himself in this way: 'I shall give them what is necessary, although I do not know whether it is beneficial for them or not. Nonetheless I do not think I am displeasing God or harming their health. Then if they die, or rather transgress, from what he gives them, their friend will not be declared a murderer. However, due to his good will and kindly affection, though their friend will not get a full recompense, insofar as he shows love for their souls, the sick will find relief and make progress toward health, which they would have obtained only with difficulty without the aid of his charity. However, one piece of advice is necessary here.
According to a popular proverb, a dangerous animal is not dangerous when caged in. If it is in a cage and has its needs met, then it grows just as strong and fat as an animal that roams free. Now, because these people are of the kind whose heart and blood seek lofty things, and because the more their will grows thirstier, the more it drinks, their friend should not give them any occasion for transgression, since they desire to inflame their appetites but are not strong enough to extinguish them.”